Relief

I smelled the fabric of her blouse before dropping her back onto the bed. The squeak of the box springs spooked the pigeons perched outside the window. I lit a cigarette and let it rest on her mattress before I made my way to the door. I looked over my shoulder and saw smoke creeping out of the bedroom reaching towards me, the curled wisps like an upturned finger beckoning me back.

I closed the door and took the elevator down to the lobby. As I reached the curbside I heard a woman near me shout, “Fire!” I casually looked up at the second story apartment window where flames danced across the curtains and crawled up the wall. I told her to call 9-1-1 and the window shattered causing other bystanders to scream and soon enough there was a mild panic stirring about and I pulled out the flask from my jacket and let a stream of whiskey cascade down my throat and fill my stomach with confidence as the faint cry of sirens encroached upon the crowd. I shivered with pleasure and frowned at a young boy who was staring at me.

I returned the flask and pulled on a pair of leather gloves, popped up my collar and strode down the sidewalk towards a shop to buy a carton of milk to secure my alibi.

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